Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
THE Akyempimhene of Asante, Oheneba Adusei Poku, has stressed the need for the nation to embrace community newspapers as a vital tool for fostering national cohesion.
He pointed out that if the establishment of community newspapers was encouraged nationwide, they could go a long way in helping to resolve some of the seemingly unending crisis in certain parts of the country.
Oheneba Adusei Poku stated this at a symposium in Kumasi yesterday to commemorate the first anniversary of the establishment of Graphic Nsempa, a regional newspaper established by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) for the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.
The Akyempimhene, who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the symposium as the special guest of honour, said for instance that the crisis in Yendi and Dagbon could be resolved to a very large extent if a community newspaper with the right focus of uniting the feuding ethnic groups was established in the northern part of the country.
He observed that it was dangerous for a newspaper with community focus to deviate from its agenda, stressing that such a situation would defeat the purpose for which the newspaper was established.
He cautioned the media against pitching tribes against each other, emphasising that this could easily explode into disturbances.
“We have nowhere to run to if there is any explosion of conflicts in the country,” he said.
Oheneba Adusei Poku commended the GCGL for establishing the Graphic Nsempa and urged the company to extend the community newspapers to other regions of the country to enable them to enjoy the inherent benefits.
A renowned industrialist, Mr Akenten Appiah-Menkah, who spoke on the topic: “Using community newspapers to promote industrialisation”, stressed that there was a huge potential for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses if they forged closer relationship with the media.
He noted that many businesses fell short of promoting their products through advertising and said the time had come for a change.
Mr Appiah-Menkah used his company, Appiah Menkah Complex Limited, as a case study and said even though the company started on a small note it was able to expand fast through intensive media advertising.
He said the introduction of Graphic Nsempa therefore offered a great opportunity for industries in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo to grow.
He noted that the power of the media in whatever form could not be underestimated but said they became even more powerful when they had a special target to deal with.
Speaking on the topic: “The role of community newspapers in a liberalised media environment”, the General Manager in charge of Newspapers of GCGL, Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, said sustainable development occurred when the people were adequately informed to enable them to make effective choices.
He stated that the integration of modern communication processes with traditional practices had made community newspapers a powerful tool of information dissemination at the local level.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh noted that the decision to make Twi part of the Graphic Nsempa, was meant to make “the people own the paper”.
He cited Kenya where he said community newspapers had made a great impact in the lives of the people and said Ghana could do even better.
The general manager reassured the people that the paper would constantly highlight issues that would facilitate development of the two regions.
The Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Osei Assibey-Antwi, who chaired the function, said the government appreciated the importance of the media in national development, that was why it had persistently fostered a closer relationship with the media.
He described the Graphic Nsempa as one of the best things to happen to the Ashanti Region and expressed the hope that the people would continue to patronise it.
Present at the ceremony was the Managing Director of GCGL, Mr Ibrahim Awal.